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Considering entrepreneurship


Charles Norris Vienna, MO

I’ve been working on a business plan off and on for quite a few years. I ‘d like to speak to a small business/entrepreneurial veteran, preferably someone in the food industry, to really get insider information. I’m looking for the information that doesn’t necessarily show up in all the articles/information online.

8 July 2019 6 replies Small Business



Edward Canada Orlando, FL

Hello Charles,

I do both small business consulting and strategy and own my own three man firm, and I've worked in and out of the restaurant/food world for the last 15 years or so on both sides. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you have!

9 July 2019 Helpful answer


Joseph Hawthorne Brooklyn, NY

Hi Charles,

Thanks for writing and thank you for your service! My first recommendation would be to check out ACP AdvisorNet’s community page. On that page, you can search for advisors in your particular industry of interest or geographic location. You are very welcome to send individual messages to advisors in order to connect and get some individualized, tailored advice for your business. So far, I see 11 veterans and 8 advisors from Missouri/Illinois in Small Business and the Service Industry.

You are welcome to reach out to them individually, and if you are currently in a mentorship, feel free to ask your point of contact for additional informational calls. There may be mentors in ACP's database who have not signed up on AdivsorNet yet.

I hope this helps!

All the best,

9 July 2019 Helpful answer


Bill Blair Holiday, FL

Charles -I am a business broker in Florida and have owned 3 businesses in the last 20 years, now I help aspiring entrepreneurs buy their own businesses. In my experience, you are better suited for success by buying an existing profitable business. In Florida, more restaurants and Sports Bars are sold as an asset sale ( not making any money)than any other type of business. For the industry - you should have food service experience, Contact a business broker in MO. and let him educate you about buying your own business. The seller in Florida pays the brokers fee. relative to Mr. Becks #4 point - in Florida a seller must prove the cash flow created/represented by the business - so there is minimal risk to false financials
don't know how MO works. ask the broker - there is usually no cost to talk to a broker - you might learn something- ask if there are any SBA approved businesses for sale - SBA approved means the bank has reviewed the tax returns and will loan the $ to buy the business -with a 10/15% down payment - the banks love veterans. You can learn a little about buying a biz on my website Good luck Bill


Michael Becks Apopka, FL

Dear Charles

Also, a Navy Vet and entrepreneur here, formerly from Missouri and now Florida. Not from the food industry but many principles of business transcend various businesses. Having mentored several students in my career, I have found some concepts that can almost assure your success. By the way most of the 8-10 interns that I mentored are still in the same business and doing very well.

Fact is that many small businesses fail in the first few years
• 80% of entrepreneurs starting a business fail within the first 18 months. (Forbes)
• 50% of startups fail after operating for four years. (Statistic Brain)
• 66% of small businesses will fail within 10 years. (Tutsplus)
• 50% of small businesses fail after five years. (Small Business Trends)
• 3 out of 10 new companies “fail to survive” for more than 24 months. (Wasp Barcode)
• Only 33% percent of startups reach their 10 year anniversary. (Credit Donkey)
• Only 1 out of 5 new businesses survive past their first year of operation. (USA Today)
• Fewer than 50% of businesses survive more than 5 years. (Fundivo)
This above information is subject to conjecture, however, there seems to be some smoke there and you need to pay attention to in order to maximize your chances of success.

1. Business plans are very necessary but OJT, much like in the military is critical. As there isn’t any restaurant OJT program I am aware of, you need to make your own. Approach a Restaurant owner in a similar niche that you are looking for and offer to be an intern even for minimal pay or even gratis in turn for the learning experience. Many Restaurateurs would love to have an eager employee, even if for 6 mos. or longer.
2. Another advantage of an apprentice type program is to be able field test your business plan and/or get a second opinion from your mentor. The tighter you can develop your plan, the greater your chances of success.
3. Still another advantage or opportunity is to find an owner that is looking for a person to transition his/her business to. Believe it or not, one of the biggest problems for an existing owner is how to transition out without giving it away. They work their entire lives like a dog and when it comes time to reap the rewards, many must liquidate their business for cents on the dollar.
a. A very close friend and client elected to bring in a partner after some time and eventually two that were the golden parachute for him to eventually ease out of the business. The reason I say this is because there are many existing business owners that would welcome this opportunity, but they just don’t know where or how to publicize for it.
4. Purchase an existing business is another way to enhance your chances of success in your chosen field, provided you have the funds. A major advantage for this method is dealing with a known quantity as far as revenue, clientele, and expenses. The big unknown here is the credibility of the data provided from the seller. It can be easy to inflate the numbers which could spell disaster. Many agreements even allow for a time period where the existing owner stays on and provides guidance to the new owner.
5. Finally, hook up yourself with a good accountant or CPA. It can be expensive but hot have an expert to navigate the numbers can spell disaster.

Good luck on your new adventure and remember, “the harder I work, the luckier I get”. That works well in the retail food business.

Feel free to contact me if you have additional questions.

Mike Becks


Ryan Brown Melbourne, FL

Hi Charles,

Great to see that you are pursuing entrepreneurship. This decision only makes the world a better place. If you have specific questions, please feel free to direct message me.


Tim Gaughran Gulfport, MS

Hey Charles,

I was a restaurant owner for twenty years. I’m not currently in the industry but I’d be happy to answer any questions for you.
My phone is 601-214-6266. Call or text, leave a message if I am not available.


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